Monday, June 06, 2011

Perfume is Not My Friend

I know this is a rather frivolous blog topic, but it is a big part of my life. I was standing in the shower the other morning, working on controlling my crazy frizzy perm with some fairly pricey, very perfumed conditioner. I instantly got a headache. Perfume does this to me - a tight band feeling that squeezes the back of my head like a vice grip.

I remember when it all started. I had caught whiffs of Estes Lauder perfume and thought it was nice. My freshman year boyfriend got me some as a gift. I doused it all over one of my sweaters. I began to get headaches whenever I wore that sweater. Then I realized I was getting headaches when I came in contact with English Leather, which I had loved at one time, so my poor hubby (when that time came) couldn't even wear what he liked.

During college, I was singing in choir at a local church and was placed behind a lady who wore a very popular, very intense, very heavy perfume that just killed me - I ended up quitting choir because I couldn't bring myself to tell this lady I didn't know that her scent was making me ill. I worked with a lady whose deodorant, believe it or not, made that band appear first thing in the morning. Have you any idea how hard it would be to tell someone that their deodorant is making my life miserable??

When DC discovered my sister wore Windsong, he informed me that was his favorite perfume and couldn't I wear it, please? I asked him to keep his nose away from my sister's vicinity, and I was sorry, but since I couldn't smell good, he'd have to content with my not smelling bad!
There was a time when I was able to smell good, when Avon sold Hawaii White Ginger After Bath Splash. It was light and airy, and just enough. For some reason it worked for me. But as in all such things, they discontinued it and I was back to just "not smelling bad."

I can't stick my head inside Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I received a gift from Bath and Body Works, which I had to return. Unfortunately, I had to go all the way through the store to the counter in the back in order to exchange it for the only unscented product they carried. Even Hallmark is off limits. I love to buy "first Christmas" ornaments for baby showers, but the last time I did so, I had to ask them to please hurry with the gift wrapping as I stood outside the door. I remember the time I was looking for some candles for one of my Christmas decorations - again, the counter was in the far back of the store. I had to ask someone if I could skip to the head of the line before my head exploded.

There was a time when everything seemed to be scented - Kleenex and toilet tissue to name a few necessities that made life very difficult for me.
I'm glad someone talked them into stopping that nonsense. Shampoo and conditioner are two of the worst offenders. I have often times opened a magazine to read an article, only to immediately have to put it down and wish I'd never opened it - the perfume samples (usually more than one) not only permeated the pages of the magazine, but they ended up staying on my fingers the rest of the day. I think I wrote to one of them and learned that they have a special database for people who can't handle perfumed magazines. You'd think if that many people have the problem, they could leave the perfume out for everyone. But I know - it's all about the advertising income.

When I finally decided I needed a bit of makeup to "enhance my natural beauty" I ordered some very expensive stuff, only to discover that everything was scented. Fortunately, they did make it unscented, so they had to replace everything.

When my kids were in high school, when I drove them to school, they would get in the car in a rush, putting on the finishing touches with their spray colognes - I would remind them of my problem - they could never believe it could be "that bad." Kevin now knows exactly how bad "that bad" could be - unfortunately, he is plagued with the same problem.

And then there was my dear FIL, who loved to get his sweetie a spray bottle of some strong scent every Christmas. He'd be so proud that he wanted to share a squirt with everyone - no matter how many times I asked him to please not do so, as it would ruin the rest of my Christmas Eve!

What's really sad - I always thought it was only man-made scents that bothered me, until I realized when I brought them inside one year that I can't even have lilacs, Easter lilies, or daffodils in the house. So far roses and tulips are okay.

I had to leave the church nursery the other night and stand in the hall when I was sitting in there with the twins because they have put a Scentsy warmer in there - to mask the "aromas" inherent in a church nursery!

There is ONE plus in this sad tale - I have a built in excuse to not go to parties that sell scented things. I know - I should not be such a party pooper and be sad. But it saves me so much time and money! Or guilt.


Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I have to be very careful with fragrances or I get a ripping migrane. Haven't used perfume in years.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

I hear ya!!! I too am allergic to so many scents. But it's all the manufactured scents. Well, not all...I can wear lotions with mild fragrances...and I USED to wear Avon's Rose Geranium [which I WISH they'd come back with that]...but, I know exactly what you mean about the too powerful stuff...they give ME a headache too. And some nauseate me to the point I'm dry heaving. Bud used to wear English Leather...and then, I had my hysterectomy----he came in my hosp. room reeking of English Leather...ever since I can't 'stomach' the smell!!

And regarding the iris you sent to is getting ready to bloom...the same dark purple that bloomed last year...all the rest are piddly small and not flourishing at all. But they're still GREEN. LOL

Needled Mom said...

I can imagine how dreadful it must be for people with allergies because those scents are everywhere these days. It does save you a lot of money though!!! Perfume is soooo expensive.

Linda said...

I can understand now why we aren't allowed to wear perfume in choir. I didn't realize it could be so difficult. I don't have that problem, but I confess there are some scents that just make me feel a tad ill. Just recently I bought scented garbage bags. Yuck! I'd almost rather smell the garbage!!

Maine Mom said...

I will now think of you when I see the signs in the doctor's offices to not wear perfume.

I don't get headaches, but my skin is super sensitive, so I always buy non scented soaps, shampoos/conditioners, etc. I haven't worn perfume in years...just because. :-)

Dawn said...

Yes, Linda. When I do that big community choir, at the first rehearsal, that's one of the ground rules. Some don't listen and I have had to ask them to repeat it, because I get so sick sitting behind someone wearing it. Unfortunately, one of my dear friends in our choir who goes away for the winter, came back and last week was wearing something really potent - never happened before. I can't really move away from her, because she likes to rely on my voice to help her. I have to figure out something, because I can't go home from choir practice with a sick headache every week. It's such a personal thing and I hate saying something to anyone.

Linda said...

Maybe if you wore a clothespin on your nose she'd get the hint Dawn!!
Seriously, perhaps you could get the choir director to say something. Headaches are definitely no fun.

Tyson said...

oh my...that is awful. we are a very scented socity these days.
guess what? I m tired...good tired...but very wiped out. It is all part of summer and kids and pools and parks...why did I have to do it all in one day though? (o:

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Ps....I'm reading my comments again this morning before I leave to the A/C'd mall to walk. LOL....anyway you asked if cloud-cover makes it cooler. Well, ya, I guess. But, the humidity here makes it all the more hot.

Oh, and with your post here, it reminded me of another thing about 'allergies' and I am going to make a post of it sometime today for my Monday Morsels. Thanks for the reminder. And as I think about it, I'm gonna jot it down so I won't forget it. rofl

grammy said...

Dawn, That Tyson comment was is crazy to have to share your computer...especially when you are somewhat illiterate to computer 'STUFF' (o:

Midlife Mom said...

A kindred spirit! I have had to leave church and other functions due to someone being doused with a heavy perfume!!! They even put it in the bulletin not to wear perfume or men's cologne due to other parishioners with allergies and people just keep on wearing the stuff. Good grief! I don't ask for much!!!

Another extremely busy week but better. I will get to your e-mail soon. :o)

Magazines with perfume in them just make me sick, I tear it out quickly trying not to get it on my hands!!!

Gram said...

There are some scents that bother me, but not all. I hate when someone has so much perfume on you can still smell it long after they leave the room. It is one of my pet peeves.

PEA said...

My mom has always been allergic to perfumes and even with eye makeup, she has to buy the hypo-allergenic type with no scent. When I know I'll be spending time with her, I make sure I wear no perfume or lotion. Perfume has never bothered me unless it's a very strong perfume, then it seems to catch in my throat!! When my boys were still in high school, I remember one year when Shawn was in grade 11, they were told no perfumes/after shave or deodorant allowed because a girl in the class was very allergic to it. So many people just don't realize how ill a person can get with allergies. Great post, Dawn! xoxo

Sammy said...

Dawn, I have this same issue! It's actually not that uncommon. Perfumes, strong deodorants, colognes...they all make me feel so ill. I have a bottle of this really fancy perfume that I adore and every once in a while I try to get away with wearing it. Just the other day I put some on and within minutes I had a headache. Totally not worth it! And I called recently to have those perfume ads taken out of the magazines I have a subscription to. Those seriously make me sick.

Oh, and this:
"...I asked him to keep his nose away from my sister's vicinity..."

Absolutely hilarious!!

nancygrayce said...

I stopped wearing perfumes years ago. So many people are allergic and if it's really strong it bothers me even though I'm not allergic.

My favorite aunt wore Estee Lauder Youth Dew which we all know is the strongest perfume in the United States of America, so I wore it for a while until I figured out I would be an easy target because anyone could smell me a mile away!

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